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A serene Christmas in the city

Like clockwork, Nairobi residents will every December flock upcountry bus termini and pay double or triple normal fares as they travel to their rural homes to “eat Christmas.”

On the material day, the city becomes a ghost-town with traffic- vehicular and pedestrian- thinning on the usually busy streets.

Ironically, when most residents have gone to celebrate, it is the best time to enjoy the capital; drive around, walk on the streets and enjoy the usually crowded joints.

Classy restaurants

A lot of classy restaurants remain open during the period giving those in the city and who have saved on travel expenses the chance to sample on sumptuous meals without much crowd.

However, perhaps the most compelling reason to stay in the city over Christmas is the monetary savings as well as avoiding the hassle that comes with the travel.

Last week, a woman travelling upcountry for the holidays was left stranded after one of the “attendants” at the crowded Machakos Bus Stage took off with her luggage.

These are some of the tribulations that travellers face in a quest to get to their rural areas and other holiday destinations.

But the most biting has to be the fares that have doubled in nearly all routes. On Saturday, economy bus companies were charging Sh1,300 to travel to Kakamega, nearly double the normal Sh700.

For those travelling with family, the sums become quite substantial. Factor in the return fares and sticking around starts sounding like a good idea.

“We’ll be staying in Nairobi this Christmas; the economy does not allow the travel. It’s easier as a family if we just go out on that day,” says John Mwenda.

Perhaps the idea of staying in (or travelling to) the capital may be resonating with a lot of people with a Consumer Insight survey revealing that nine per cent of the respondents would like to spend the holiday in Nairobi.